Chance Patterson, a hard working young man from East Vail, Colorado, was struggling to make ends meet, so he pulled double shifts at Larkburger – a restaurant chain where he was employed. Having two fully grown dogs, Chance felt bad about having to leave his beloved best friends behind every day for an extended amount of time, so he found a suitable solution – having them spend the day at a doggie day care.
One day, as Chance was making his way back home after picking German shepherd Carlitos and pit bull Izzy up from day care, a drunk driver came out of nowhere and crashed into his car forcefully. In addition to being under the influence, the accident occurred on a mountainous section of Colorado’s Interstate 70, which did not provide clear visualization for the stumbling driver.
Another driver who was present during the accident and witnessed the whole collision climbed out of his truck and ran toward 22-year-old Chance, who was drifting in and out of consciousness. Chance mumbled one single question, one the driver did not want to answer: if his dogs were okay. Unable to cushion the blow, the driver sadly responded that the German shepherd had been killed.
Chance was upset but needed to know how Izzy was doing. When he asked the man by his side, the latter replied there was no other dog to be seen.
“I asked if he could go look for my other dog,” Patterson told TODAY.
Rescuers arrived at the scene, but Chance out of his seatbelt and wreck of a car. Despite his best wishes to stay on the site and find Izzy, he needed to be evacuated and treated at a nearby hospital since his leg, ribs and elbow were broken and had a lacerated lung.
Hearing of Chance’s gloomy turn of events the entire community decided to pitch in and assist by searching for Izzy. After various tips and reports of her being spotted close by but sprinting off before getting too close, Holly Walthers, the owner of the Vail Doggie Day Spa and Lodging that watched over Izzy and Carlitos while Chance worked, decided Izzy was in desperate need of a familiar face.
“There were a few people who got close to her but she would run and hide,” said Holly.
Five days after the accident, Holly and the rest of the search team received a phone call from local cyclists who claimed they saw a dog who looked a great deal like Izzy running near them. Knowing it was only a matter of time before the traumatized pup would run off again, the team quickly arrived at the location delivered. Holly found Izzy wandering around, so she steadily walked behind her, and when Izzy glanced at the woman approaching, she could not restrain her joy.
Chance was notified that his beloved Izzy was found safe with nothing more than a sprained toe:
“We immediately called Chance and he was crying and extremely thankful and happy,” said Holly.
“I had no words,” said Patterson. “I was so happy. I thought I’d lost both my dogs.”
Although Chance has a great deal to go before healing both physically and emotionally, but he decided to let go of hard feelings and focus on being grateful for being alive and having Izzy by his side. As for the drunk driver that hit his car, he only had one message he wanted to pass on:
“I just want her to know I’m not mad. She’s alive, I’m alive, and that’s all that matters.”